award-winning photographer for The Washington Post, earned his
first of two Pulitzer Prizes for his study of a family with AIDS:
story for which I received the Pulitzer was published back in 1995.
We followed Rosa Lee Cunningham and her Washington, D.C., family to
study the impact of poverty, illiteracy, racism, recidivism and AIDS
across three generations.
Rosa Lee and three of her children were HIV-positive through drug use.
They have all since died. What amazes me is that six years later, the
issue of AIDS is still as important as it was then, but you see fewer
and fewer stories in newspapers and magazines or on TV. It has become
the forgotten disease. Its no longer on journalisms front
burner because the storys been told so many times.
the bottom line is: The story is growing and changing. The disease is
quietly spreading through our society and devastating countries around
the world. And there are new issues that it is raising. For example,
some people with HIV are now able to obtain drugs that let them lead
much longer lives, while others languish and die because they cannot
as scientists are looking for ways to find new treatments, we as journalists
need to find more novel stories that personally impact readers and inspire
them to think about the new issues surrounding AIDS. We need to figure
out what story hasnt been told, or look ahead and focus on where
the disease is heading. Another thing we can do is to tell stories in
different media such as the Internet, or take them directly to the public
through exhibitions, multimedia events or personal stories at our local
community centers, high schools or alternative art spaces.